Showing posts from October, 2014

Sometimes Getting Nominated is All you Need

The other day I received news that I was nominated for an Outstanding Educator Award from the University of Chicago. Every year, the university asks freshman to nominate a teacher from their high school who have made a direct impact on them. Patrick Taylor alumnus, Thomas Sostarics, nominated me. After receiving the letter, I texted Thomas a big thank you, and he responded by telling me that it was the least that he could do for all the support that I gave him and all of his classmates over the years that they attended Taylor. I feel so honored that he thought so much of me. Thomas was always an outstanding student, and when I wrote recommendations for him for college, I ended this way, (Thomas) "is going to be a real asset on any campus where he lands, and he will take advantage of every opportunity that you offer him. This is one of the students whom I will miss most of all when school starts up in the fall of 2014." It is so true. I miss him each and every day, but I k

Thank you, Chris Grabenstein

I met Chris Grabenstein at a conference last March, and I was delighted by the way he captured an audience's attention. I knew that my students would love having a chance to talk to him. So I selected his book, Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library as the read for the middle school book group in October. It was difficult to find a date that worked for both of us, but a few months ago we were able to confirm a date for skyping with him.  BRiMS had the best time talking and listening to Chris because Chris Grabenstein is a hoot. He was very entertaining, and no question went unanswered. Some of the kids had some super questions for him, like asking him how living in New York has influenced his books. You can find out more about this Skype session and see more pictures by visiting the library website here . 

Bookmarked President Writes Post for The Hub

Over the summer, Destiny Burnett entered a contest to write for the YALSA blog, The Hub , during Teen READ Week. She along with 30 other teens are being published all month long in this well read blog. She wrote a wonderful post on diversity in YA literature, and it was published today. Open here to read her post . 

Excited about Teen's Top Ten 2014 List

My book group, Bookmarked, helped to nominate the books that were on the list for Teen's Top Ten. Teens around the country just finished selecting their ten favorites from the 25 nominated titles. What a great list it is! I can't wait to share the list with my students. I know that they will be thrilled too.  Watch this video from YALSA announcing the titles or see the list below. Teen's Top Ten Eleanor & Park  by Rainbow Rowell  ( Macmillan/St. Martin's Griffin) Splintered  by A.G. Howard  ( ABRAMS/Amulet Books) The Rithmatist  by Brandon Sanderson (Tor Teen) The 5th Wave  by Rick Yancey (Penguin/Putnam Juvenile)  Monument 14: Sky on Fire  by Emmy Laybourne (Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends) Earth Girl  by Janet Edwards  ( Prometheus Books /Pyr) The Testing  by Joelle Charbonneau, Joelle (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) Steelheart  by Brandon Sanderson (Random House/Delacorte Press) Siege and Storm  by Leigh Bardugo (Macmillan/Henry Holt Books fo

Recap of Teen READ Week 2014

Dream Catchers  Every year, I enlist the help of members of the high school book group, Bookmarked, to help me plan and execute all the activities for Teen READ Week . Because let's face it, it is the middle school students who get excited about the games and contests that we plan. There are always some high schoolers who participate, but it is the younger ones who get into the spirit of the week with gusto. This year was no different. Each day students could answer the clues for the guessing game that we play in some variation every year, as well as another special activity for each day during lunch.  No, she did not guess the correct number of candy bars Creating a dream catcher takes a lot of concentration When we began planning, none of us was taken by the theme Turn your Dreams into Reality. The idea of careers and jobs just didn't seem very exciting for TRW. It turned out to be a great theme. Our clues for the guessing game revolved around the jobs of o

First Book Fair at PFTSTA

The first book fair ever to be held at PFTSTA ran from Monday, October 6th through Thursday, October 9th. It was a long four days but definitely worth it. We sold $4700 of books, posters, pens, erasers, etc. I had lots of help at the cash register from the members of Bookmarked and BRiMS. They did a super job of helping make it all happen. The middle school students had a great time picking out fun reads, but surprisingly, the high school students did, too. Not much more needs to be said except the place was packed on Wednesday during the middle school grandparents' breakfast. Unfortunately, I was too busy to take pictures while the special visitors were in the library shopping with their grandchildren. Below are photos that capture the week for me.    None of those pictures of students with books in their hands were posed. The kids were engrossed in the titles that they found for sale on the shelves. 

Getting Ready for Teen READ Week 2014

Last week was book fair and next week is Teen READ Week. As the week progresses, I will post pictures here . Per our usual game plan for TRW, the library will be hopping with lots of activities, games and contests every day at lunch. Members of Bookmarked helped me plan and will be my assistants next week. I have got all the supplies ready to go, and I can't wait for lunch time on Monday.  Turn Your Dreams into Reality  @ PFTSTA Library Teen Read Week 2014 Prize for guessing the correct number of candies. 1. Annual Library Book Mark Contest: Two winners-one from middle school and one from high school-will receive a $20 Barnes and Noble gift card, and their bookmark reproduced to give away to the PFTSTA community. You can visit the library for a hard copy or open here:  and print out from the web. All bookmarks are due in the library by Wednesday, October 15th at 2:30PM. 2. Dream Jobs Guessing Game:  Every day during Teen Read Week, you

Donors' Choose Project Funded

Earlier this week, I found out that my project for buying books for my middle school book group was funded on Donors' Choose . I am thrilled, and I know that the kids will be also. Because of the kind donations, the students will be reading the following books during one of our monthly meetings:                             

Using Donor's Choose to Get Books for BRiMS

Find project here I have been running a middle school book group since February 2011. I have always had one or two copies of the book for the month in the library, and then I expected the students to either buy the book or find it in the public library. The books that we selected were always available in the public library. This process never worked well because the students didn't seek out the book outside of school, so when we met as a group most of the students had not read the selected book. So we only chose a book every other month, and on the opposite months, we all read from the same genre. That was okay because that meant every member read a book, but it made a quality discussion difficult. I tried a Donor's Choose project before asking for devices where I could download the books for the students to read. That project never got funded, but I am trying again now. This time, I am asking for the physical books. Please consider helping our project by making a small d

Reading Fans Pose with their Favorite Books

On Friday, four students started goofing around on the sofas with some books. They know that I take photos of kids reading for my Caught Reading series on Facebook , and they thought that they could design some fun pictures for me to use. They did, but I didn't post all of the shots on Facebook, and I like them all, so I decided to post them here for your pleasure. Glad to have students who are so passionate about reading.